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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 7, 2014 3:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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allowed to stay. but under the obama administration, those reports have been proven increasingly true." close quote. data from the paper shows that the number of illegal youths from central america who are apprehended averaged around 4,000 per year over the last decade. so the newspaper points out that over the last decade we've apre-helped about -- apprehended about 4,000 youths per year. some reports suggested that the number could reach 90,000 this year, an increase of more than 2,000%. yet since 2008, de-powerations of -- deportations of illegal youth have dropped roughly 80%. so we have an 80% drop in the deportations while we've seen a 2,000% increase in the number coming unlawfully. does this not tell us something?
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is this acceptable? isn't this a guarantee that we will see more people attempt to come to america unlawfully in the future? in may of last year, 2013, chris crane, director of the ice officers' union, wrote a letter and he warned about the increasing number of young people coming in as a result of the president's unilateral imposition of a rule to block enforcement of immigration law with regard to young people. and in october of 2013 last year, the numbers were already beginning to surge. that was obvious. in january of this year, the department of homeland security laid out proposals for bids for a contract to private companies who would handle as many as
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65,000 young people coming into the country unlawfully. so in january they were well aware of what was happening. was any action taken in may of last year or october of last year or january of last year to confront honestly what it was that was causing such an increase of immigration from our latin american countries and central america primarily? the answer is "no" so now what we have is an emergency demand for $2 billion to deal with the crisis. it's just a sad event really. i wish it hasn't happened. but you can't play games with law enforcement. i spent too many years as a federal prosecutor, almost 15 really, and you can't -- you have to have clarity of law. people have to understand it and they have to believe that if they violate the law, thill a be
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a-- they'll be apprehend. so we have this bizarre event, mr. president, where noncitizens can come into the country in violation of our laws, plainly and simply, and be given amnesty or forgiveness and not be prosecuted. but a citizen who doesn't pay a few dollars of his taxesst taxer violates a speeding ticket or gets a d.u.i., can go to jaivment so how can this possibly be justified? i just don't think it can. and the situation is so bad a and so sad that we had the secretary of homeland security, secretary jeh johnson, before the judiciary committee of which i am a member,ing and i pressed him. he said, well, we don't want wrong people coming to america because it is dangerous.
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i said what about it be a violation of the law? he sort of avoided that. i asked him again and i pressed him and he finally said, well, it would be against the law. but he didn't clearly state that if you come to the united states unlawfully, you'll be deported, if you're apprehended. he didn't deny that people who come to the country today, young people, if they're apprehended, they're given over to h.h.s., released to the custody of some adult relative that may show up or housed by the government and eventually are unlikely to ever leave the country under their policies. david gregory, moderator at "meet the press" sunday pressed him about this. this is what mr. gregory said. "critics say you're not stemming the tide fast enough.
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the number is going to grow wherever it ends up. the bottom line" -- i'm quoting mr. gregory now. "the bottom line is what happens now? are you prepared to deport these children, young mothers? are you prepared to deport them?" isn't that a good question to the man that heads homeland security, who's responsibility is to enforce our immigration laws? i opposed mr. johnson's nomination. i don't think he ever had any experience in this and acted politically, was a counsel for the department of defense. but he has no experience in these matters. so did mr. johnson give a straight answer to this question? his answer was this: "our message to those who come here illegal, our border is not
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open to illegal migration and we are taking a umin of steps to address it, including turning people around faster. we've already dramatically reduced the turnaround tiernlg the deportation time, for the adults we're asking this week for a supplement for -- from congress to bring on additional capacity. we're cracking down on smuggling organizations. "kings but mr. gregory pressed, "do they need to be deported oifeori've seen some reportings suggests that more than half of them could end up staying in the united states." secretary johnson:, "that's a plain question. he says, "the law requires that when d.h.s. identifies somebody as a child, as on accompanied child, we turn them over to the department of health andhum andn services but there is a deportation proceeding that is commenced against the child. now, that proceeding can take
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some time so we're looking at options, added flexibility to deal with the children but p in a humanitarian and fair way request "mr. gregory," well i'm sorry. it sounds like a very kaiferl response. are they going to be deported or not?" secretary johnson: "there is a deportation proceeding that is commenced against illegal migrants including children. we're looking at ways to create an additional option for dealing with the children in particular consistent with our laws and values." mr. gregory, "i'm trying to get an answer to, will most of them end up staying in your judgment?" mr. johnson, "i think we knead to find more efficient, effective ways to turn this tide around generally, and we've already begun to do that." mr. gregory, "but what does that mean?" are you saying it's impractical
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to deport all of them who are here now?" secretary johnson, still has not said they'll be deported. "i am saying that we've already dramatically reduced the turnaround time for the adults. we're in the process of doing that for adults with i hads can. we're looking at additional option for kids in particular." mr. gregory, "to deport them or settle them in america?" is the goal of the administration to settle seniory of these kids in america as possible? what about those who are here now? what is the goal of the administration to settle them in america or deport them?" secretary johnson, "there is a deportation proceeding pending against everyone who comes into the country illegally and apprehended at the border." look, this is the top law enforcement officer. this is the top law enforcement officer with regard to immigration in america.
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he is the secretary of homeland security. answers directly to the president of the united states. and he could not say, do not come to america unlawfully. it violates our laws. we cannot accept that. if you do so, you will be deported. and if you bring children, you both are going to be deported. why couldn't he say that? he couldn't say it because they've had no serious policy to effectuate that law, which is current law, since he's been in office, and before really. and they just don't want to say it. it's just stunning to me that you can't have clarity and leadership in the top people in our government. and i'm concerned about it. so, mr. president, this congress is going to have to wrestle with how to participate in doing something positive about the
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unlawfulliness at our border. i wish we had a partner in the chief law enforcement officer in america, the president of the united states and his assistant, secretary jeh johnson. we do not. they have no intention of enforcing the law effectively and consistently. it's -- it demeans the respect this nation should have in the world. it undermines one of the most remarkable, valuable characteristics of america. that is our commitment to the rule of law. it is a direct affront to the rule of law. it directly undermines the son ofty of our -- the sovereignty of our nation if you don't control our border, you don't control your sovereignty. and i.t. just wrong. it's not right. we're not able to accept everybody that would like to come to america.
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we're just not. we have the most generous immigration system in the world. we admit a million each year under lawfully application processes. we admit another 600,000-plus under the guest worker programs to come take jobs that we need to put americans in. these are not just farm woks. only about 20% of that 600,000-plus are farm workers. most of them are take jobs throughout the economy. and at this point in time, with high unemployment, falling wages, this is not a policy that served our national interest. we're just simply -- we just simply cannot do that. it makes businesses happy. they have a ready flow of workers. it helps keeps wages lower. but it's not i think right thing we need to be doing for working americans. so i -- i feel like that as a nation we have a challenge and
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congress is going to have to assert itself. congress passes laws. the president executes the laws. it's his duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed. and they're not being faithfully executed. in fact, they're being eviscerated by policy after policy after policy. whether top immigration officials declare that if somebody gets into america and pass the border, they're virtually unlikely to ever be deported, adult or chide. this is the direct result of the president's policies. and we do not need to continue them. so in the course of this crisis, i hope we'll act with concern for those young people that are here. but i hope that we will use this opportunity as a congress to assert our legitimate rights as
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a law-making branch and that in a bipartisan way, republicans and democrats will defend and assert to the president that he must pass the laws -- he must enforce the laws we passed. he does not get to ow on his own execute alterations in the fundamental law of america. so there is an internal memorandum that leaked. this internal memorandum said that as many as 95% -- this memorandum was the department of homeland security. they interviewed people that were here with children, and they asked them why they were coming. and you've heard it said they're coming because there's more violence and crime in central america this year than last year. that's really not so. but they interviewed these people and when did they tell
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them? 95%, according to this memorandum, said that they came because they had aide heard that if they came to america with children, they'd be able to stay. and that they would be given a permiso - -- released on gail bl -- and they wouldn't have to come back for a hearing and they would be in the country. the stories are -- people are crossing the border with children and they go riept to the border patrol officers and turn themselves in. the border patrol officers turn them over to homeland security and homeland security doesn't deport them. they set them up for some sort of trial, some sort of hearing which may be 500 days. and then they find a place for them and they take care of them. it is just the kind of process that makes no sense for a serious nation. that's all i'm saying. and why are we seeing this large number again? it's because they believe it works.
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and in fact it is working. in fact, young people that are coming in with their parents or brothers or uncles or aunts are coming into the country and they are he being -- both of them are staying. nobody's really being deported. and they don't intend to leave. and the president created this policy, and now it's caused a national crisis. i hope we can do better. i hope in the course of the discussion that we can improve on our law and find some strength for the president -- put some strength behind our law enforcement in america. chairman goodlatte, the chairman of the judiciary committee in the house, has made a strong statement. he says we simply can't provide money until we have some clarity that we're going to be taking action in this country that will keep this from happening in the future. he's certainly correct in that.
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we certainly need to do that. and if we do, i am more optimistic than a lot of people. i truly believe if we follow up aggressively, we start deporting people who came here illegally promptly, instead of just talking about it and not releasing them on bail, on permisos, the word will get out in central america like it got out that you can come and be able to stay. the word will get out don't come here. you take risk, it costs you money. you're going to lose everything you invested in this attempt and you're going to be sent back. and then the numbers will start falling. we might be surprised how fast they would fall, and that would be good for the public policy of america and the rule of law. i thank the chair, will yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection the quorum call will be suspended. mr. mccain: and i address the senate as in morning business and take such time as i shall consume. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: at a time when vital defense programs are experiencing a lack of funding the federal government is wasting billions of dollars attempting to procure new large information technology systems, consistently disregarding lessons learned from past failures and well-established acquisition best practices. even with the current annual
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budget of $80 billion for information technology projects, the federal government struggles to make those systems work. the american people can still remember the embarrassing failure of, the obama administration's most recent information technology fiasco. what they may not realize is that while mess is not unique, and it is in an important sense merely business as usual and how the government, particularly department of defense, acquires large information technology systems. the pentagon is responsible for many of the most egregious cases of wasted taxpayer dollars when it comes to government information technology programs. lack of planning for these acquisitions within the armed forces has made the adoption of
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new information technology systems an expensive and risky endeavor. the air force's expeditionary combat support system, or ecss, pecks additionary combat support system -- expeditionary combat support system, is a prime example of how a system designed to save money can waste billions of taxpayer dollars without producing any usable capability. today the permanent subcommittee on investigations issued a bipartisan report on the failed acquisition of ecss, a program that was supposed to decrease costs and increase efficiencies by consolidating the air force's hundreds of legacy logistic systems into a single new system. it's important to recognize that what happened with ecss is not an isolated case of incompetence.
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unfortunately, it's one of the many examples that show how billions of dollars can be wasted if the intended acquisition is not started off, with a detailed plan that includes clear stable requirements and achievable milestones supported by realistic original cost estimates and reliable assessments of risk. the subcommittee's report notes that the air force started the ecss acquisition in 2004 with the goal of obtaining a single -- quote -- "transformational unified logistics and supply chain management system that would allow the air force to track all of its physical assets worldwide, from airplanes to fuel to spare parts. these types of computer platforms -- that is, large business systems -- that
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companies use to make their businesses operate more efficiently are known as enterprise resource planning systems or e.r.p.'s. so basically the ecss was supposed to be an enterprise resource planning system that would have combined all of the air force's global logistics and its associated supply chain management activities under one streamlined management information technology system. as the department of defense as overall strategy to become fully auditable hinges on how successfully it procures and i want greatintegrates these systo its business enterprises. failures, like the ecss, are not only costly to the taxpayer but also disastrous to the department's larger financial improvement efforts. to keep costs down, the air
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force intended to build its new e.r.p. system using already available commercial software instead of a software system designed from scratch. that type of commercial software, however, works best when the organization using it follows efficient business processes. so in order to take advantage of the commercial software that supported ecss, the air force needed to dramatically change long-standing internal business processes that supported how it managed global logistics and its associated supply chain. that never happened. unfortunately, the cultural -- the culture of resistance to change in the air force made it difficult to make those changes. the air force needed strong leaders who could communicate not only the goals of ecss to end users and get their buy-in
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but also develop sound program management strategies to overcome resistance to change among those lower-level personnel. ultimately, the leaders of the ecss program did not effectively communicate with the end users. without their buy-in, ecss was doomed to fail before it even really started. because the air force had not adequately planned what needed to be done to procure ecss effectively, it was easier for program managers to just order changes in configuration that, in effect, customized the commercial software on the fly rather than alter the air force's own culture. that caused costs to skyrocket and delivery schedules to slip. the air force's eagerness for expensive customization was especially troubling given that as early as 2004, the air force
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identified the need to avoid customizing the commercial software lest costs explode. but in the end, it failed to heed its own advice. the subcommittee report finds that the air force's customization of the commercial software was a major root cause of ecss's failure. such customization could have been avoided had the air force fully and timely implemented a congressionally mandated procedure for improving its operations called business process reengineering. business process reengineering, which is a proven private-sector management approach, offers a structured way to introduce major new changes into an organization to help it run more efficiently and ensures that careful planning goes into every stage. not infrequently, fortune 500
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companies use business process reengineering to, for example, restructure existing business units to work more efficiently, passing resulting savings on to consumers, and to absorb effectively new business units from companies that they have acquired or merged with to maintain overall competitiveness in the marketplace. had the air force actually used business process reengineering in connection with the ecss -- that is, redesigned those business processes that needed to be changed for the air force to absorb its commercial off-the-shelf software effectively -- the risks identified in 2004 would have been consciously object -- addressed at each stage of the procurement, not essentially disregarded for eight years. it was disregarded for eight years. in his 2004 risk assessment, the
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air force also identified a lack of stable program requirements as a risk to the program. that risk, too, was not accounted for. from the beginning of the ecss procurement, the air force failed to properly define and stabilize the program's requirements, what the system would do and how it would do it. even those who were going to use ecss felt like they were in the dark. in 2008, four years later, a technician stated -- quote -- "my number-one complaint is that ecss has yet to identify any time line for when we can expect to receive detailed information or requirements about what ecss will provide." this user's complaint reflects the lack of planning that went into the air force's attempt to procure ecss. to this day, the air force still
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does not know how many legacy systems it actually has on hand, let alone the number that ecss was to replace. the air force's lack of knowledge about its current information technology systems led to confusion when it tried to construct a replacement. i offered an amendment to the ndaa act, the national defense authorization act, for fiscal year 2015 that would require program personnel to have a proper understanding of existing legacy systems and clear goals in connection with its efforts to procure new information technology systems. but more has to be done. the subcommittee's report recommends the department of defense should also start assessing how much b.p.r. would need to be done and how feasible it can be done -- feasiblely it
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can be done earlier in the acquisition life cycle of these e.r.p.'s. also, investment review boards, which are critically important governance tools used in connection with the department's efforts to procure e.r.p. should be integrated into the budgeting process when these programs begin. that would help make sure that not only is b.p.r. being implemented early and effectively but also that the large information technology system being procured lines up with the department of defense's broader efforts to modernize its business systems. collectively, these initiatives would help these programs start off right and allow both the department of defense and congress to conduct better oversight and hold leadership accountable for future failures. in this case, no one within the air force and the department of defense has been held accountable for ecss's appalling mismanagement.
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no one has been fired. and not a single government employee has been held responsible for wasting over $1 billion in taxpayers' funds. with six program managers and five program executive officers over eight years having transitioned in and out of the program, the air force has had trouble determining who should be held responsible. on scores of other failed programs, this, of course, is a study we are all familiar with. let me repeat, not a single government employee has been held responsible for wasting over $1 billion. six program managers and five program executive officers over eight years in and out of the program. this is a chronic lack of accountability and i think efforts in the national defense
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authorization act -- amendments to align the 10-year program managers with key decision points in the acquisition process is badly needed. that provision would allow us to not only hold accountable those responsible for blunders like ecss but also to reward those involved with successful acquisition strategies. the subcommittee's report details many leadership failures within the air force and the department of defense in the ecss program that should serve as a warning for current and future information technology acquisitions. since 1995, the government accountability office has placed the department of defense business systems modernization efforts -- that is, its efforts to replace its existing information technology systems to improve how the department of defense is managed -- on its
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high-risk list every year. it's been on that list for many of the same reasons that ecss failed, including inadequate management controls, oversee how it acquires these large systems. according to the government accountability office, the department of defense -- quote -- "has not fully defined and established business systems modernization management controls." it further noted that these management controls are -- quote -- "vital to ensuring that d.o.d. can effectively and efficiently managemenefficientln undertaking with the size, complexity and significance of its business systems modernization and minimize the associated risks." i challenge the new deputy secretary of defense, who acts as the chief management officer, to work with the government accountability office to get the department of defense's business systems modernization efforts off the high-risk list.
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and i look forward to a plan from him how he intends to do it. such a plan is clearly necessary given the current difficulties the department of defense is facing in procuring major information technology programs. the army has spent roughly $1.8 billion on its logistics modernization programs, yet just recently in may of this year, the department of defense inspector general reported that the army will most likely miss the congressionally dated auditability deadline in september 2017 because it failed to properly implement the b.p.r. the defense enterprise accounting and management syst system, or d.m.'s, a current air force acquisition effort that has received roughly $42 $425 million in funding and is
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scheduled to receive billions more. deams has faced similar issues to those witnessed in the failed ecss program -- procurement program. for instance, similar to ecss, the air force has been frustrated by its inability to get the buy-in it needs from deams' intended end users for them to change their business processes and allow for deams' integration into the air force. according to a december 2013 department of defense internal report, end users at mcconnell air force base indicated that the training for this program -- quote -- "did not provide them with a real understanding of the system and its application to their day-to-day work process." sound familiar? in this case, the air force and the department of defense is
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again failing to properly procure and implement a program that is crucial to its business operations and to the air force becoming fully auditable by 2017. the navy has also struggled with the procurement of large information technology as a program called navy e.r.p. illustrates. according to the department of defense's deputy chief management officer, these guidelines demand that program offices for information technology acquisitions effectively map out current legacy systems and business processes that need to be changed or retired and then lay out a new plan that would improve and transform the shortcomings of the old systems. these as-is and to-be process maps help guide the d.o.d. components and agencies in how
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they procure large information technology systems. but when the department of defense inspector general asks the program office of navy c.r.p. process maps, disturbingly the navy said that no such plan existed. this is particularly unsettling because the under secretary of the navy at the time, who is now the deputy secretary of defense, certified that those plans were actually completed. in addition to the lack of process maps, the department of defense inspector general found that navy e.r.p. could not be used to track and account for the navy's $416 billion in military equipment assets. that means the navy's program would not even allow the navy to become fully auditable as required by congress, raising questions about why the navy would spend $870 million on a
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program that wouldn't even fulfill congressional mandates. this lapse in oversight is unacceptable, which is why the subcommittee's bipartisan report recommends that the department of defense review its internal policies to make sure that information technology systems that receive b.p.r. certifications on paper are actually implementing b.p.r. in reality. these certifications are required for a reason. they help decisionmakers in the department of defense and congress make informed decisions on whether a given program is ready to go further in the acquisition process and whether taxpayer funds should be authorized and appropriated for that purpose. as i mentioned earlier, information technology procurement is not only a department of defense program. in november of last year, in response to the disastrous
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information technology. the department of homeland security secure border initiative program or s.b.i. net was another notable i.t. procurement failure. my colleagues might remember s.b.i. net is the high-tech surveillance program that when it began in 2006 promised a single -- quote -- "transformation on integrated security system for hundreds of miles of border protection on our southern border." well, i remember s.b.i. net as a system that, according to the government accountability office, cost $1.2 billion and was on a path to spend 564% more than its initial cost estimates when it was canceled in 2010. once again, ever-changing requirements, the lack of internal management controls and not really understanding what we
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were trying to procure, how hard it would actually be in planning effectively for those difficulties led to the federal government squandering over $1 billion with nothing to show for it. the federal government's incessant inability to procure major information technology systems is especially concerning since in the coming months the department of defense will be selecting a contractor to develop a centralized military health care information technology system. that program is supposed to provide seamless sharing of health data among the department of defense, veterans' affairs and private sector providers. in light of the recent tragic consequences stemming from mismanagement at the phoenix v.a. health care system and v.a. hospitals around the country, we can't afford to further jeopardize veterans' health care
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because of information technology failures, and yet any serious effort to reform how care is delivered to our veterans will largely turn on the effective delivery and integration of this system. we need to put the department of defense and the department of veterans' affairs on notice that we will monitor this program carefully throughout its acquisition. in closing, mr. president, there is still much to be done at the department of defense and throughout the federal government to ensure the acquisition of large information technology programs is improved. if we don't want to repeat past failures, the department of defense's attempt to procure large business i.t. systems must be supported by the right leadership, proper planning and a work force that is open to changing business as usual in order to help make sure the department operates more efficiently, effectively and
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transparently. mr. president, i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: i'd ask the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to the consideration of s. res. 470, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 429, senate resolution 470, amending senate resolution 400, 4th congress to clarify the responsibility of committees of the senate and the provision of the advice and consent of the senate to nominations to
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positions in the intelligence community. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the resolution is agreed to. the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, this wednesday it's reported president obama will be traveling to my state of texas, but he will not visit the border between texas and mexico, the site of what h he himself has called a growing humanitarian crisis. instead, on his two-day trip, he will fund raise and apparently deliver a marked -- remarks on the economy. it's a little ironic given the economic boom in texas relative to the rest of the quu country t the president would choose to come to texas and lecture us on what we should do about the economy. but my hope is that he would come to learn from texas and not
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just give another lecture. today the white house press secretary josh ernest said that the president was -- quote -- "well-aware" -- close quote -- of the crisis on the border. as the distinguished presiding officer knows, i recently visited mcallen, texas, myself a week ago today, and it is heartbreaking to see these young children without their parents. it's difficult to hear the horrific stories about the journey that these children made from their homes in central america up through mexico, dodging assault, kidnapping, and various other and sundry crimes and then finally making their way into the united states. and so it's ease? i one sense -- and so it's easy in one sense to see why the president might prefer to stay away rather than to come and learn and listen for himself,
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particularly in light of the sad stories that he's going to hear -- or he would hear if he decided to come. but i think the problem speaks for itself when the president, who would prefer to hang out with campaign donors and other political supporters, would decide not to have any interaction with those that are directly affected by his failed policies; in this case the failed immigration policies that led to a full-blown humanitarian crisis. so instead of taking the easy way out, i wish the president would step up and lead, and he would learn perhaps something he did not already know or that he thinks he knows and which is absolutely wrong. it's puzzling and it's frustrating that the president of the united states chooses the path he apparently is going to take rather than one that will
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help him solve problems. we know the president last week stood in the rose garden in front of the american people and at the same time he asked for money to help address this problem -- and it is reported in the order of $2 billion -- in the very next breath, he announced that he's looking at expanding the very same policies that have created -- help create this crisis, create the impression that there will be no consequences for coming to the country in violation of our laws. it is disheartening. it's dis disappointing, and it's extremely dangerous. this week during his troip president, it would -- his trip to president, it would take thee president less than an hour to visit the border and sigh what i and my colleagues have seen firsthand: a very sad situation that could have been prevented
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but know that it's harntiond it needs to be addressed in a bipartisan way. he would see what i corks which is children separated from their parents with no certainty about the future, children who have endured unspeakable hardships and cruelty at the hands of some of the most vial thugs on the planet, the cartels, who view them as a commodity, like they do drugs, weapons. they view these children as a commodity, sto something to make money off of. the border patrol in south texas along the border are doing a very professional job under very difficult circumstances, but they're simply overwhelmed. repeat yoedly we'll hear of borr patrol officers having to divert their attention from doing those law enforcement responsibilities and duties to basically taking care of children, making sure
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they're fed, their medical condition is being attended to, and they have a safe place to stay while going through the procedures there at the border. i commend the border patrol and all of our federal law enforcement agencies for making their resources and time stretch as far as possible. for these children, while the commander in chief has decided to do something else. i realize how controversial and polarizing this issue can be, but at least in some respects it should take precedence over partisan politics and fund raisers. what i don't understand, madam president, is how the president can send us a bill for $2 billion, which he reportedly is going to do tornlg asking us for parntsly for some changes in the existing law, and then so theny be missing in action when it comes to learning for himself the very facts that are
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necessary for him to believ to o make the case as to why both of those are necessary. president obama evidently needs a wake-up call. and visiting the border and learning firsthand about the very carte and causes of this -- the severity and causes of this ongoing crisis will be that wake-up call. again, i urge the president to visit the border this week during his fund-raising trip to texas. and i yield the floor. mr. coats: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: madam president, the supreme court issued a ruling last week that i'd like to discuss for a few moments today because this decision marks a very important development in the ongoing debate our country is engaged in
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on the subject of religious freedom. in a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that the contraception coverage mandate imposed by the affordable care act on family-owned companies, such as hoblhobby lobby stories and scoe stow gay wood specialties violates the act. these companies have faith-based objections to providing access to contraceptives that can terminate a pregnancy. let me repeat that because there is a lot of congress fusion out there -- confusion out there among the media and while it is true that some faith-based institutions object on religious grounds, as they believe are protected under the first amendment, object to the mandate that their insurance companies that are covering that -- their employees and that business is
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mandated to provide support for contraception. it is also true but not really distinguished and noticed in the media that there are a number of institutions which are basically saying you can't couch this under the umbrella of contraception. you have to understand that what we're opposed to here is not providing the means of contraception to prevent conception but providing contraceptives that are done after conception and, therefore, are considered abortion prescriptions that terminate -- terminate -- a conception. so hobby lobby has been clear to state that they have the they ft
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former category. it is a distinction and one worth making. the supreme court's ruling means that employers like hobby lobby or groady industries in my home state of indiana, a family-run auto lighting industry in madison, indiana, will not be forced to take actions contrary to their religious beliefs or their moral beliefs. and so i applaud this ruling issued by the court because freedom of religion is a core american principle gander guaray our first amendment and through this decision the court has afirld that the administration simply -- affirmed that the administration simply can't pick and choose when and how or whether to adhere to the constitution. so while this ruling is a welcome, positive step, it's important note that religious freedom is still under attack across this country. iand it's under attack because
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the court's ruling applies to a very narrow group, family-owned for-profit companies such as hobby lobby when many faith-based organizations, hospitals, educational institutions are still required to facilitate insurance coverage that includes contraceptives and abortion- inducing drugs despite their redges beliefs and despite their moral objections. so requiring these faith-based organizations and businesses to betray the fundamental tenets of their beliefs is, i believe, unconstitutional. and the administration's so-called accommodation is far from adequate in addressing this fundamental breach of our first amendment rights in our constitution. those impacted by this mandate are a large and diverse group that includes indiana-based institutions like grace college in winona lake, the university of notre dame in southbend, and
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many other schools based on a religious foundation that finds a moral and religious objection to this mandate issued by the federal government. despite conscious objections and university of notre dame's clearly defined standards and values, notre dame has been told by a federal appeals court late last year that it must comply with the obamacare mandate, which they're appealing. and it is important to also note that we're not just talking here about institutions of higher learning. my alma mater, one of those institutions, wheaton college, was told by the supreme court just last week that it doesn't have to abide by the contraceptive coverage mandate until the judicial system determines whether the administration's requirement is valid for religious institutions and other nonprofits.
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as just an aside, it was surprising to read this morning in "the wall street journal" that -- in fact, it was disappointing and highly unusual -- that despite the court explicitly stating that its decision to grant wheaton college a temporary injunction -- quote -- "should not be construed as an expression of the court's views on the merits of wheaton's case," having explicitly stated that, one justice wrote a dissenting non-which she essentially decided on the merits of the wheaton case itself. that's the first time in my recollection -- i am not a constitutional scholar; i don't follow every decision of the supreme court, but i follow many of them. but it's surprising that a justice would allow their ideological passion on a particular issue to so mischaracterize the ruling of
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the court that simply provided for an injunction, to give the time for the court system to make a ruling. nevertheless, it's not why i came down here this evening. i just thought in terms of thinking through this issue and what i might say that it appears to be some ideological bias on the court that raised its ugly head here and hopefully that will be retracted. but whether it is wheaton college, whether it is notre dame, whether it is grace college or numerous other institutions, it is foreign understand that in many of these institutions a ribbon of faith, a stream of water runs through everything they do in those organizations, and particularly in those schools of higher learning and those entities that provide social services through food banks, through dealing with the homeless.
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the element of faith is a important to their success, it is important to their results, it is important to their beliefs. whether it is faith in learning, as is the central part of institutions like notre dame or wheaton college or others; or whether it is a homeless shelter in southbend, indiana -- that is the combination of churches and university and city and county and has some federal funding and some local funding and some volunteer funding, it is essential, as they told me on one of my visits, that this ribbon of faith is essential to the success of their program. and to the rehabilitation of those who walk through the front door often homeless and leave months and years later with capabilities of full employment, gainful employment and become homeowners instead of homeless.
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so whether it's, as i said, food banks, homeless shelters, or other important organizations, so many of these are meeting needs of people across this nation. but these institutions are seeing this ribbon of faith and the free exercise of religion constrained and restricted by this administration's mandate under the obama health care law. what is at stake here is of extreme significance. established in our nation -- established in the founding of our nation and sustained for over 200 years, religious freedom is at the very core of our system of government. and protection of religious liberty means that all people of all faiths have the right to exercise their faith within the bound of our justice system even if their belief seems to some as misguided or flawed or flat-out wrong. but what is unique about america and what is guaranteed in our
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constitution is that we do not have the right to dictate to those people as to how to express their faith as long as they are within the bound of justice, how to express their faith, live their faith, employ their faith. so faith-based institutions, in taking that right away, taking that right away is just flat-out wrong and a violation of, i believe, the most precious amendment to the constitution. faith-based institutions should not have to facilitate insurance coverage for products that are counter to their religious or moral beliefs to require them to betray the fundamental tenets of their beliefs and accept this violation of their first amendment rights guaranteed by the constitution is simply wrong. in a joint statement released shortly after announcement of the hobby lobby decision,
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archbishop joseph kurtz, president of the u.s. conference of catholic bishop and arch archbishop glory of baltimore said -- quote -- "now is the time to redouble the culture that respects religious freedom." that really is what we're asking for here. we're asking this administration to respect those institutions and those individuals' freedom is guaranteed under our constitution, whether we agree with their tenets, whether we ideologically take a position in favor or not in favor, it is their right and it's guaranteed. i hope that in coming days the supreme court will strike down the administration's mandate for all faith-based institutions and rescind this unprecedented attack on religious freedom. while we await further action from the court, now is the time for this body, the united states
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senate, and all americans of faith to stand up for our country's long-standing right to the freedom of religion. he was the father of our country, after all, george washington, who once said -- and i quote -- "i have often expressed my sentiments that every man conducting himself as a good citizen and being accountable to god alone for his religious opinions ought to be protected in worshipping the deity according to the dictates of his own conscience." we today know that reference to every man also includes every woman and every human being the right to be accountable to god alone for their religious opinions and protected in worshipping the deity according to the dictates of their own conscience. not the dictates of a federal government that says we know better. not the dictates of those who
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simply say we will interpret that liberty to our satisfaction to accomplish our purposes. as in "washington times," we must defend these rights of conscience, preserve religious liberty for all americans regardless of their religious belief or expression of faith. madam president, with that, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. blumenthal: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: i ask we dispense
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with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy murphy: last week, tt stores announced they were going to initiate a new policy in their stores across the country, they were going to politely ask all of their consumers to refrain from bringing guns inside their store. this is a picture of one of their customers bringing what appears to be a semiautomatic rifle into a store in order to buy oreos. their statement read like this, as you've probably seen in the media. "there's been a debate about whether gusts in communities that permit -- guests in communities that permit open carry be allowed to carry firearms into stores. our approach has been to follow all laws but starting today we will respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to target even in communities where it's permitted by law. we've listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved.
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this is a complicated issue but it boils down to a simple beli belief, bringing firearms to target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create." i'm thankful that target has taken this position. i'm hopeful that other retail stores across the country will follow suit. and my only point of disagreement, madam president, is that there is any nuance to this debate. my only point of contention is that there is anything complicated about whether or not this is appropriate, for workers across retail stores and restaurants in the united states or the little kids who come in and shop there on a regular basis. here's what the n.r.a. had to say about this. the n.r.a. released a statement that said, "let's not mince words. not only is it rare, it's downright weird and certainly not a practical way to normally
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go about your business while being prepared to defend yourself," talking about bringing firearms into stores. "to those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to one's self or one's cause, it can be downright sca scary. using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners." that was the n.r.a.'s position for a couple days, until a handful of n.r.a. members got upset and started tearing up their membership cards. and then the n.r.a.'s top lobbyist apologized for that statement, effectively withdrew it. luckily, target some weeks later changed their policy. that is weird. that is scary. that is inappropriate. and it is this policy that we have perpetuated by our inaction in this place that allows for
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the continued diffusion of weapons, many of which are military grade, such as the one displayed here, that is leading to these spiraling rates of mass gun violence across this count country. madam president, we went for a stretch in january or february where there was a school shooting almost every other day that school was open. we just expect now to pick up the newspaper and read about another mass slaughter somewhere in this country. and we wonder why it's happening. there are guis guys buying oreoh an assault rifle strapped on to their shoulder. and that debate is nuanced and complicated about whether or not we should allow it. the gun lobby's position speaks to this mythology -- that's charitable -- a lie to the cynics that the only way to stop
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a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. that's not actually what any of the data tells us. the data tells us if you have a gun in your home, you're much more likely to be the victim of a gunshot from that gun than you are to ever to ever use that onn assailant. if you're a woman, for instance, you're five times more likely to die as a result of domestic violence with a gun if it's in your home rather than if you're in a home without a gun. health affairs came out with a study of 50 states, longitudinal study of experience related to rates of gun violence and rates of gun ownership. found that for every percentage increase in gun ownership in a community, there's a percentage increase in gun violence. there have been 79 shootings in wal-marts in the last year. 79 shootings in wal-marts, of all places, in the last year. i'm glad that target made the
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decision to take guns out of the workplace. senator blumenthal will speak after me. senator blumenthal and i sent a letter to target asking them to make this change in policy. i'm glad they did. we're going to have a debate this week, it appears, on a piece of legislation that will allow for individuals to bring more firearms onto public property throughout this country. it's not a debate about bringing firearms into target stores. it's a debate about bringing firearms onto public lands. and, madam president, there is a perfectly legitimate debate to be had about bringing more legal guns onto public property, but there is an even more important debate than that about taking illegal guns off of our city streets. if the united states senate is going to spend a week debating a bill about gun policy, then we
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should be talking about getting rid of illegal guns. would you be talking about keeping guns out of the hands of -- we should be talking about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. we should be talking about stopping the epidemic of gun violence across this country. because, madam president, these are the numbers. 31,000 people killed every year by guns. 2,600 people every month. 86 every day. if we're going to be talking about guns on the floor of the senate this week, we should be talking about how to stop another newtown, another aurora, another bloody summer. we should be talking about a gun bill that does nothing to stop the scourge of gun violence across our country, and i for one can't vote for it. i can't vote for it, madam president, because there are still families grieving in newtown, but every single day
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there are families grieving across this country, like the families associated with a young man by the name of michael mayfield in baltimore, maryland. michael was killed earlier this year, he was an outstanding student. he was passionate about being a member of the junior rotc. he was a gifted baseball star in baltimore. paramedics found michael shot in the head inside a vehicle in northwest baltimore and took him to a local hospital where he died. he left his house at about 6:00. somebody walked up to him on the street, shot him four times in the head and then fled on foot to an awaiting car up the street. he was accepted to college and he was due to start there this fall, but instead of going to his graduation, his family and friends, hundreds of them instead went to his funeral. paul lee was killed some weeks
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later in another school shooting at seattle pacific university. a delusional young man started shooting and killed paul who was described as easygoing and energetic, a friend, dorm mate of his said he was adored by everyone, he was affectionate with everybody, he loved to dance. he was a member of seattle university's hip-hop club and he walked around the dorm doing the robot, friends said. one friend wrote at his funeral keep dancing. or christian nadoy in connecticut who was just out on his bike one might, 15 years -- one night, 15 years old. when the clock approached 8:45, two gunshots were fired from a wooded area near his house, struck christian in the head and the leg, dropping him in the driveway. he died five days later. police say his shooting may have been involved trouble over a
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teenaged girl. this casualness of violence in this country, this idea that over a dispute about a teenaged girl, a 15-year-old could die is directly connected to our casualness about guns in this country. if we are so casual as to think that someone needs to be armed when they go to buy oreos at a target, it stands to reason that some kids may think that they could have a casualness about settling disputes with guns as well. and so, madam president, i won't be voting for cloture today because we are long overdue to make a statement in the united states senate about the tens of thousands of deaths happening due to guns all across this country.
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everyone has a role to play in trying to stem this epidemic of violence. target has a role to play. they stepped up last week by taking guns out of their stores. our hospitals and our mental health professionals have a role to play. this isn't just about the number of guns out in our communities. this is also about getting resources to really troubled kids. but this congress has a role to play as well. our role is to stand here, stand up and have a debate about how we can take guns out of the hands of criminals, take military style assault weapons off of the streets, give real resources to people who want to help these troubled individuals. that's the debate that we should be having on the floor of the united states senate this week if we really want to honor all of the voices of these victims. madam president, i would yield the floor.
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mr. blumenthal: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. i want to thank my colleague, senator murphy, my friend and partner in so many different
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issues, and most especially on measures to stop gun violence in this country, commonsense, sensible measures that he has championed so ably, and i have been very proud to work with him as a partner in spearheading as well. and i want to join in explaining my reasons that i am unable to vote for the bill that we are considering today, the bill that is presented for cloture this afternoon. people in the united states have a second amendment right to possess and use firearms. it is guaranteed by the constitution, and there are legitimate ways and means that people can use firearms in this country. recreational and sometimes commercial. those rights are guaranteed by the constitution, and this
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measure arguably is in service of those rights. but i can't vote for a measure that makes owning or possessing or using guns more readily or easily usable when we have failed to act and we have failed to act on commonsense, sensible measures that will stop gun violence. i voted to achieve cloture on a measure very similar to this one before sandy hook and before the necessary 60 votes was failed on this measure a year ago april. i can see the legitimate reasons to vote for this bill and to support cloture, but not when
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this body has failed in its fundamental obligation to make america safer and to rid it of gun violence. we have an obligation to take first things first and protect our children and to adopt the kind of commonsense measures, background checks, mental health initiatives, school safety, a ban on illegal trafficking that are easily within reach and would be passed by a majority of this body if presented for another vote and if a majority of members voting was sufficient rather than the 60 votes that is now our threshold. i am reminded today of a victim of gun violence over this very weekend in the early morning of sunday. a young woman in bridgeport who
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was gunned down by her ex-boyfriend, breaking into her mother's house, first shooting her mother's boyfriend and then turning his gun on her because she had the audacity to end their relationship. her story puts a face on the reason that i have offered a measure named after another victim of gun violence to impose commonsense steps to take away guns from people who are under temporary restraining orders as well as permanent restraining orders. whether that kind of measure would have worked in this case is irrelevant. her death was unnecessary and preventable, tragic and painful to her family, not to mention her mom who was in the house at
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the time she was gunned down and murdered. her death occurred within 75 minutes of another death in bridgeport on the east side, when abraham a.b. davison, 23-year-old young man sitting on his house porch in barnham avenue in bridgeport, again gunned down. in the case of karomie fontanas, a young woman who was shot by her ex-boyfriend, jose santiago was apprehended almost immediately and gave a confession. the case, according to the bridgeport police, is closed, but the chief of the bridgeport police, chief gaudette, had this to say -- quote three separate incidents, six people shot, two people dead. i'm very proud of the work that all of our officers do every
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day, but especially last night. it was a really trying night last night." and chief gaudette committed himself to begin a renewed effort against domestic violence, inspired by the death of this young woman, karomie fontanas. already in connecticut, we have exceeded the number of domestic violence deaths that occurred in all of last year. her death was the tenth in 2014 alone. domestic violence takes a terrible, awful, unacceptable goal total in lives and injuries, heartbreak and pain and it is so avoidable and unnecessary.
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we need to do more about domestic violence, but as my colleague senator murphy has commented so well, the chances of death as a result of domestic violence are increased by five times when there is a gun in the house. guns and domestic violence are a dangerous, toxic mix, and that's the reason for our legislation, the legislation that we have offered that takes away guns, stops purchases and ownership of guns when there are restraining orders, when there is an objective reason to think that there will be this kind of threat of violence and rage and wrath. the memory of these two people who died just yesterday, yesterday morning in the early hours of the sunday following
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independence day should focus our attention again on what is important, what should be our priority, what should be our first steps when it comes to guns, and that is to make america safer. four months after the brutal murders in sandy hook, this body said no to the grieving newtown families, to the people of connecticut and to the vast majority of american people who continue to support commonsense measures like background checks. this body voted to prevent gun violence legislation from getting a final vote. today we will vote on a sportsmen's bill, whether it should have a final vote. and the fact that we are now considering this legislation to expand recreational shooting on federal lands without addressing the scourge of gun violence is a stark reminder of the congres cs
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misplaced priorities and unfulfilled obligation. i sympathize with what my great colleague, senator hagan, is trying to do. if the legislation we're considering today were part of a broader national discussion and conversation about who should possess guns and how we should keep them out of the hands of dangerous people, criminals, and mentally troubled people who are dangerous to themselves or others, it would be a different debate on the floor, and the considerations for me would be different in this vote. i spent last week going from town to town in connecticut listening to constituent consti. they asked me, what are you doing in washington? and a lot of it was, what are you doing in washington to stop
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gun violence? when will you bring back the measures to stop gun violence that are the legacy and the lesson of sandy hook? the tragedy that still causes so much pain to so many people thinking of those families, the 20 beautiful children and brave educators whose lives were lost that day. i am unable to go back to connecticut and tell those people who ask me about what we are doing to stop gun violence in america that what we've done is to make it easier for americans to shoot at targets, make it easier for big-game trough fetrophy hurptses hundrt.
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that's not my idea of where our priorities should be. first things first. let's stop gun violence. let's at least take steps to reduce its horrific toll of death and injury, its costs in dollars. let's try to find that bipartisan ground on reducing domestic violence or reaching out to people who need mental health treatment, and let's find common ground on making america safer. that common ground serves our best instinct. what makes our nation the greatest nation in the history of the world, a nation whose independence we celebrated this weekend with pride and joy, even
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as the terrible toll of gun violence continues in yesterday's early morning, over the weekend throughout america where tens of thousands of deaths have followed the tragic, horrific, unspeakable tragedy of sandy hook. i will vote today against this legislation, against invoking cloture, with sadness and regret that that obligation upon us is, as yet, unfulfilled. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mrs. hagan: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mrs. hagan: madam president, in a few minutes the senate will vote on whether to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed
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to the bipartisan sportsmen's act of 2014, a bill that i introduced earlier this year with my friend and colleague from alaska, senator murkowski. i am proud that by work alongside our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we have crafted a package of 12 provisions that have broad bipartisan support. i will be back on the floor at a later time to really give a much more thorough and in-depth presentation on our bill, but i did want to take a couple of minutes to highlight a couple of the key provisions. one, to ensure that future generations do have an opportunity to enjoy our great outdoors, as we do today. the bipartisan sportsmen's act reauthorizes several landmark conservation programs, including the north american wetlands conservation act, the federal land transaction facilitation
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act and the national fish and wildlife foundation. our bill also includes regulatory reforms and enhancements that will benefit sportsmen and women across our country. for example, states will be able to allocate a greater portion of federal pittman-robertsonson funding. this is important because we're currently facing a shortage of public shooting ranges across the country. we will also enable hunters to purchase an electronic duck stand. i can personally vouch for the benefits of this provision. our son-in-law came to visit one year. my husband planned to take him duck hunting towards the end of the season. unfortunately, three different places had sold out of duck stamps. so 2340u whe now when my husbans duck stamp for the season, he actual lit purchases extra just in case family or friends come
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to visit during duck season. this provision will allow my husband and other hunters to purchase duck stamps online. this is 2014 -- instead of traveling from post office to post office in search of a duck stamp. the bipartisan sportsmen's act will also help improve access for hunting and fishing on public lands and require 1 mo.5f the money to be used to improve the access on our public lands. it is important to note that we accomplish all of this without adding anything to the deficit. in fact, this act actually reduces the deficit by $5 million over the next ten years. i believe we've assembled a strong bill that's going to benefit the an lars, the outdoor recreation enthuse yaftz, the hunters in north carolina and
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nationwide and i am proud to say that this bipartisan act has 45 cosponsors. 18 democrats, 26 republicans, and one independent. we have cosponsors of all ideological backgrounds from every region of the country. the list of organizations supporting our bill is also long and diverse. over 40 organizations have endorsed the bipartisan sportsmen's act ranging from the national shooting sports foundation to the theodore roosevelt conservation partnership to ducks unlimited. outdoor recreation activities are part of the fabric of so many states, including north carolina, from the great smoky mountains national park in the west to the cape hatteras national seashore in the east, north carolinians are passionate about the outdoors. hunting, fishing, and hiking are a way of life, and many of these
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traditions have been handed down through my family. so i am glad the senate will debate the bipartisan sportsmen's act. in putting our bill together, senator murkowski and i tried to pull the best ideas from members of both of our parties. however, i do recognize that members on both sides of the aisle have ideas for how to strengthen this bill. it is my hope that we can take up, debate, and vote on sportsmen's-related amendments this week. i encourage my colleagues who have amendments to file them and come to the floor to discuss them. in closing, this act of 2014 is a balanced, bipartisan plan that is endorsed by 40 stakeholders, is fiscally responsible. so i urge my colleagues to vote to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill so that we can start debating steps we can take to benefit the more
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than 90 million sportsmen and women across the country. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. grassley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: for many years i've been an advocate for reforming the foster care system and making sure that the government is doing the best that it can to protect and care for those who are abused. they may also be neglected and particularly when they're removed from their families. that is why senator landrieu of louisiana and i started the senate caucus on foster youth. we wanted a forum to discuss policies and practices and to learn more about the challenges that foster young people face. we want to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable young
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people who don't have a permanent place to call home. the caucus cannot function without the input and the insight from foster young people. these young people are the experts on the foster care system. they've been through it. they know the challenges. they tell us in this caucus what works and what needs to change. they share the experiences and provide us with real-world stories about how our policies truly affect them. today i want to highlight the story of one particular person that i have had the privilege of getting to know, amani meyers, an intern in my office this summer. she's participating in the congressional coalition on adoption institutes foster youth intern program. i wanted to tell her story
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because it's important not to forget that there are young people in this country like amani who don't have a permanent family or a place to call home. despite her circumstances, amani has risen up and made a better life for herself, so allow me to share her story. amani meyers, a native of boston, became a ward of the state the day that she was born. she was abandoned at birth. when she was six months old, amani's great aunt learned of after amani and her two siblings and decided to take care of them by taking them into her home. she lived in her great-aunt's care for ten years. even though she had a better family environment, life still presented her with many challenges.
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amani's struggles with rejection and trauma at a very young age resulting from different types of abuse. at the age of ten, amani was reunited with her biological mother because the state granted her temporary custody. amani thought her life was finally secure. wouldn't you think so, being at home with your birth mother? her mother promised to care for her and never give her up again. unfortunately, after two short years, amani's mother voluntarily returned her and her siblings back to the state. so at the age of 12, amani was separated from her siblings and placed with foster families until the age of 18. when amani and her brother were placed together for a short period of time, they were later separated as amani moved around in the system. during her time in foster care,
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she was moved several times, never experiencing permanency or stability. that's one phs things that i've learn -- that's one of the things that i've learned through the work of this caucus. when you talk to people in foster care. what do they want? they want permanency, they want a real mom and dad and they'd like to have a place that you call home. to amani foster parents seemed more interested in cash benefits for parenting rather than human investment. she experienced emotional and verbal abuse in places she stayed. she didn't know unconditional love. her foster families didn't take the time to manage her trauma. but instead ad added to t one of the most difficult experiences amani faced was aging out of the foster care system. and age out issues with these young people is exactly why senator landrieu and i established the caucus that i've
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already spoken about. during the summer, after aging out -- no, during the summer while still in care, amani entered into ann tens an intense preparation program that would determine whether she was ready to enroll in a postsecondary institution. already anxious, she received a phone call from her social worker that afternoon. the bad news come that she was aging out. she was told that her foster mother was no longer being paid for amani's bed because the money was running out for her foster parents, amani was forced to leave home immediately. the shock and devastation of those words crushed amani. she lived in that home with the family for three years.
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she's considered a long-term living situation. amani returned to her -- to find her belongings packed in garbage bags waiting for her at the door. that is a story our caucus often hears. amani aged out of the system in a way no person should have to experience. she left a place she considered home not knowing what her future would hold. she was on her own, shoved into independence with no family support and a place to call home. amani's aging-out experience left her feeling shattered and confused. she felt betrayed by both her foster mother, who claimed to love her, and a child welfare system; in other words the state she lived in, that claimed to protect her. while this experience quickly taught amani the value of independence, she would have preferred to have a smoother
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transition into that independence. when amani left her so-called home at age 18, she was taken in by a former mentor and her family. she resided there for five years. living there was a reminder that love, family and support do exist. in 2008, amani learned she had post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. these diagnoses led her to break from school, to gain control over the disruption. amani entered into a christian residential program, mercy ministries, where she was able to gain a better understanding of herself. this experience motivated her to attend gordon college, a christian institution outside of boston. today she is working in my
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office, sitting in this chamber with me, learning how government works. she's becoming an advocate for foster youth who face the experience, same experiences that she faced. despite the challenges, amani feels very fortunate. she's been able to attend college, graduate this year, and hopes to pursue a meaningful career. knowing that many children and youth don't have adequate support systems in their life to help them along their life journey, amani pursued an education in social work and sociology. many people who have gone through similar experiences resort to other paths because of the lack of support and services. many foster children age out of the system without supportive services in place to ensure healthier lives. thankfully amani has had a network of support to guide and
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direct her through difficult times. amani's experience has fueled her passion to advocate for those who don't have a voice to fight for themselves. as amani looks back on her life, she realizes her past does not have to determine her future. she is on her way to becoming a monumental figure for those who have suffered giving youth across the country a voice and making a difference in this world. i appreciate her willingness to let me share her story. it's so typical of so many things that we hear in the caucus senator landrieu and i formed. this young girl is a very brave woman. she knows we can learn from her. we will learn from her. we must do right by her and others in the foster care system. i hope my colleagues have a chance to say hello to amani while she's here in washington,
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d.c. and take a minute to commend her for being an advocate for other youth. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to speak on the nomination that's pending. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: madam president, i rise this afternoon to speak just for a couple of moments because we're limited in time, to speak about cheryl ann krause, who's the nominee for the united states district court -- united states court of appeals for the third circuit, i should say. and i wanted to review her credentials, some of which members of the senate are familiar with in preparing for the vote. cheryl ann krause is a graduate of the stanford law school. she got her juris doctoral degree with distinction in 1993. she graduated from the university of pennsylvania summa cum laude. of course i'm especially proud
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of that as a pennsylvanian. she has an extensive career both as a member of law firms in the private sector as well as a prosecutor. just -- before i get to that, i wanted to mention her clerkship. she clerked for the united states court of appeals in the ninth circuit, judge alex kazinsky. that was followed by a clerkship of the supreme court of the united states, justice anthony m. kennedy. later she became a prosecutor, as i mentioned, in the u.s. attorney's office for the southern district of new york for five years. in that capacity as a prosecutor, she handled the investigation, prosecution and appeals of domestic and international bank fraud, security fraud, money laundering, and public corruption cases. so she has a broad and deep experience in the law both on
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the civil and criminal side of it. she's an excellent student, as you can tell, from her academic credentials and her educational background. she's been a member of so many organizations which would be directly relevant to, connected to her work as a judge. i won't read all of those today. but i also want to say that cheryl is someone that i know and i know her to be a person of character, integrity, someone who has not just broad experience but the kind of integrity and judicial temperament that we will want as a member of any federal court, federal district court, or in this case the appeals court. finally, i'd mention something about her own family background. her husband is colonel brad for the r. everman, who serves as the operations group commander of the 177th fighter wing with
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the new jersey national guard. he served as well as a fighter pilot in tours of duty the world over. so she has both her own credentials, but also has as a member of the family a real commitment to our country above and beyond her excellent work as a lawyer, as a scholar, as a lecturer and of course as a prosecutor. so i could not say more, anything more today to recommend her to members of the senate in both sides of the aisle when we have her vote, the vote to move her forward so that she can become a district -- a circuit court judge on the united states district court for the third circuit, which of course includes pennsylvania, new jersey, and delaware, as our states in that district. so, madam president, with that i would yield the floor and note
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the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. without objection. mr. grassley: i yield back the balance. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary. cheryl ann krauss of new jersey to be united states circuit judge for the third circuit. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the nomination.
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is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the ayes are 93, the nays are zero. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate will resume legislative session. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 2363, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of s. 2363, a bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, and for other purposes.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of -- on the motion to proceed to calendar number 384, s. 2363, a bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting for, and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to s. 2363, a bill to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fish, and shooting, and for other purposes, shall be brought it a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer:s wishingo vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 82, the nays are 12. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted if the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, i would ask to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i have a number of topics to go over. i'm going to do it as briefly as i can because i know colleagues want to put forward a unanimous
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consent request. but in our work, every day something happens, and i feel compelled to talk about a few of these things. but before i begin my remarks, i want to send a message of codough lens to all -- of condolence to all those parents who have lost their children to violence in our country, in the middle east, all over the world. mr. president, children and all innocents must be protected in a truly civilized world, and we need to work toward that day. we have to pray for that day. but it's going to take people caring. mr. president, when somebody said you have to walk and chew gum at the same time when you're a senator, boy, they were more than right. there's so many issues that are coming at us, and i want to go over just a few of them. and i'm going to start off talking about the crisis that we face in the highway trust fund.
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and, mr. president, i want to call attention to a transportation government shutdown which will happen in 25 days unless we reauthorize the highway trust fund. and then in august, even before that, we have a slowdown in payments to the states, and it's very, very serious. unless congress takes action, billions of dollars in transportation funding to the states will be delayed or stopped. i see senator corker here and i know he's here on another topic, but i do want to thank him for his courage working across the aisle to say you know what, we need to pay for our roads, we need to pay for our bridges. and i see senator klobuchar on the floor. she knows what it means when a bridge collapses for goodness'
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sakes. and you have to be able to pay for certain things in this government. we could argue about frills around the edges, but i don't think anyone disagrees if you went out on the street and asked whether or not the united states of america should have a grade a transportation system. now the d.o.t., the department of transportation, sent out letters to all of our states warning that the fund is in a dire situation, and we have to act. and in 74 days the trust fund goes completely bankrupt if we don't come up with the additional revenue. so here's where we are. in 74 days, we actually have to reauthorize the whole program, and then in 25 days the payments slow. now, why is this happening? it's because federal gas tax receipts that are paid into the trust fund have not kept pace
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with inflation or the rising costs of building our bridges and highways. now there are thousands of businesses and millions of jobs that are at risk if we do not act, and that's why we have so many people supporting the reauthorization of the trust fund and figuring out a way to pay for that. we have the chamber of commerce and they're aligned with the afl-cio. this is a rarity. usually those groups are fighting each other. but we have unanimity here. u.s. chamber, american association of state highway and transportation officials, associated general contractors. as i said, the afl-cio. the associated equipment distributors, the national stone, sand and gravel association; the ready mix concrete association; the american society of civil engineers, the international union of operating engineers. mr. president, we have 70,000
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bridges that are in disrepair that are called deficient. we have 50% of our highways that are not up to par. what are we doing? i could tell you what we're not doing. we're not doing our job. now i can brag just for a minute. senator vitter and i were able to get a bill through unanimously through the environment and public works committee. not one dissenting vote. and i've got to say to my colleagues who are listening, that committee is an object in the diversity you bring here. we've got bernie sanders. we've got jim inhofe. we've got barbara boxer. we've got david vitter. we have john barrasso. we have sheldon whitehouse. we have ben cardin. and we have senator fischer. so we have a broad diversity. i haven't mentioned senator sessions, and senator gillibrand and senator booker. this is a committee that represents the ideological spectrum of the senate.
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and i will tell you, we passed a bill out for six years. we know it has to be paid for, but we were very, very, i think reasonable in what we said. we said this isn't the time for a giant new increase. we kept it at current levels of spending plus inflation. god bless senators wyden and hatch. they're working to come up with a plan to pay for this bill. and we have colleagues, as i mentioned; senators murphy and corker, who came together and said, look, the chamber of commerce makes a good point. we haven't raised the gas tax in a very long time. if we do a few cents a year, we'll be able to patch up this trust fund, and more than patch it up; get it going for six years. so i would put my, the rest of my statement in the record, mr. president, if that's all right. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: and i would say this. the clock is ticking. however you look at it, one more
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time, the clock is ticking. it's 25 days until a slowdown of payments to the states. in 25 days our states are going to be howling because they won't be able to pay for work that's already been done. the way it works is they do the work, and then we repay them for in many cases 57% of the work, in some cases 50% of the work. so i call on all my colleagues, let's just set politics aside. and now i'm going to talk about briefly two other issues. and one of them has to do with the supreme court decision on birth control. you know, i hope every woman in america is paying attention to what this court did. five men, all republican appointees, basically saying a corporation can put its religion above all its employees. it's -- it's just astounding. having voted for the religious
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freedom act -- restoration act, i know why i voted for it. it was a very important piece of legislation. it said that individuals can't have their freedom of religion stepped upon. it didn't say corporations. so here you have a situation where one family doesn't believe in birth control and now they're telling every woman who works there, sorry, you're out of luck. it's really unbelievable. and to me, the court siding with a corporation over the thousands of people who work in this country is just shocking. what happened to individual freedom here? and i just have to say, we're going to try our best to fix it. but let's remember this. 99% of women have used birth control at some point in their lifetimes. let me say that again. 99% of women have used birth control at some point in her
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lifetime. 1.5 million women take birth control solely for painful conditions. 60% of the women on birth control take it in part for painful and difficult conditions. so the supreme court, in an ideological, political decision in my view said to the women of america, you know, corporations are more important than you. and we're going to try to fix this. we're going to do everything we can. i hope we can reach across the aisle. i have hopes that we can to fix this. and now i'm going to conclude my remarks because the week that we were away, i was working in the state. i -- i went to some highway projects. i went to a national park. but all through the time i was working in the state, i was hearing just a continuum of the blame game going toward our president.
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republicans blame president obama for every single thing that happens. not enough jobs? they blame the president. even though since his policies have been in place, we've had 52 straight months of job growth. last month alone, 288,000 jobs created. remember at the end of george bush's time here, we were bleeding 700,000 jobs a month. the unemployment rate, it has dropped from 10% to 6.1%. and we could be doing even better if republicans hadn't blocked the president's jobs bills. the obama recovery even includes a record-breaking stock market, which helps everybody. everybody's got a 401(k), a retirement account. when the president took office, the dow jones average was under 8,000. now it's more than doubled and the dow hit 17,000 for the first time last week. but yet and still, "oh, the
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president is to blame for not enough jobs." deficits? republicans blame the president even though since he took office, the deficit's been cut by more than half. and deficits would be lower still if our friends on the other side stopped fighting with us when we try to close tax loopholes likeninloopholes likex policies that rewards companies for shipping jobs overseas or passing more equitable income tax rules which would allow people like warren buffett to pay the same effective tax rate as his secretary. not a bad idea, would really help us. we'd get rid of that deficit. remember, when bill clinton was president, we wound up not only not having a deficit, we had a surplus. and when george w. came in, started a couple of wars, put them on the credit card, tax cuts to the rich, put that on the credit card, and we've been battling it ever since. now we have an influx of
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immigrants from central america. republicans blame the president even though it's house republicans who are blocking immigration reform that the senate already passed in a bipartisan way, which will greatly enhance border protection, spends tens of billions of dollars on that, and sets out clear and fair rules for immigrants. and they blame president obama even though the guidelines for how we treat unaccompanied immigrant children from countries such as guatemala, honduras and el salvador, those guidelines were set and signed by george w. bush. then we have the civil war in iraq. republicans blame president obama even though he opposed the disastrous iraq war. and i have to say, senator paul is not in that category and i appreciate that. for the most part, republicans blame president obama even though he opposed the disastrous
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iraq war, which sowed the seeds for the sectarian warfare we're seeing today. how proud i was to vote with senator -- then senator biden, chairman of the foreign relations committee, and along with 74 of my employees, we voted to say there ought to be a federation in iraq, sejm autonomous regions, the kurds, the shias, the sunnis. 74 of us voted for that and the bush administration laughed it off. cocondi rice, dick cheney, we he them all on record. and now this thing happens and who gets the blame? the president gets the blame from the republicans. how about benghazi? you've heard about benghazi. republicans blame the president and they continue to politicize this tragedy, even though under president obama's leadership, the u.s. has captured the suspected terrorist who is believed to be one of the masterminds behind the killing of these four extremely brave americans.
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benghazi's a tragedy. it's not about a scandal. now, how about the release of sergeant bergdahl? republicans cried foul when the president got him released, even though many of them right in this chamber -- and they're on videotape calling for sergeant bergdahl's release. and they also have insisted that no soldier ever be left behind. i got to say, it just is getting old. republicans blame the president for everything, including issuing executive orders. so i think, oh, yes, the speaker of the house is suing the president for abusing his executive power. well, he averages, president obama, the fewest executive orders per year of any president since grover cleveland. it's just getting to be too much.
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i wouldn't be surprised if the republicans blame president obama for america's recent loss in the world cup. or even for their own six consecutive losses in the annual congressional baseball game. enough. we all need to work together. stop the finger pointing. the people need us to work together, not to play the blame game. and i'm very hopeful that we'll have a little introspection around here. i know it might be a little too much to ask for. but i think if we did it, there's so many good people here on both sides of the aisle. and if we just decided for once and for all to put politics aside, the president won election twice. it wasn't even contested. so deal with it. work with him. you know, i -- i've served with five presidents, a couple of republicans, several.
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i battled with them, you know, didn't agree with them. i remember ronald reagan. but there was one thing with ronald reagan that he would say, if we beat him in the congress, he'd say, okay, let's move on. so, yeah, sometimes democrats win; sometimes republicans win. we've got to move together and move forward and solve the problems of this great nation because the people expect it of us. i thank you very much. i yield the floor. mr. paul: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i don't believe that foreign aid should go to countries that persecute christians. i also don't believe that foreign aid should go to countries that host terrorists within their government. i've had this belief for some time but i've met with a great deal of resistance in the senate. last week in the senate foreign relations committee, i introduced an amendment that said that any country that
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persecutes christians by law -- pakistan has a christian woman, asia beebee. she's on death row for the crime some say of blas blasphemy. others say she never said a word. she's really in prison for being a christian. she's been there for five years. i say pakistan shouldn't get taxpayer money and that no taxpayer money should get money that are persecuting christians. in the sudan, another country that receives money from the american taxpayer, miriam abrihim. she married a man who was a christian. she tried to escape recently and she was redetained. the only thing that's consistent about foreign aid is that it continues to flow, regardless of restrictions, regardless of window dressing to say, oh, if a country does this, we'll take it back. it never happens. your foreign aid, your
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hard-earned american tax dollars continue to flow to these countries no matter what their behavior is. so two weeks i came to the flo floor, two weeks ago i came to the floor and i said, you know what in in israel -- you know what? in israel, hamas is now joining with the palestinian authority. hamas is a terrorist group that does not recognize israel and attacks israel on a routine basis. now that they will be part of a unity government, they will be receiving foreign aid from america. and so i said, for goodness sakes, would we not want restrictions on this aid? would we not to to say that -- we not want to say, you know what, our money shouldn't flow to hamas? they should have to recognize israel's right to exist. they should have to renounce violence. on a daily basis, they lob missiles from gaza into israel. and yet in the foreign relations committee, only one other member had the guts to vote against this foreign aid. because foreign aid is so entrenched in our national psyche that it goes on regardless of the behavior.
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now, some will say, oh, well there are rules. if hamas becomes a big part of this government, they won't get any money. well, guess what? hamas can read. they have read our legislation. they are purposely setting up their unity government to evade our restrictions. there are already people who say the president has a waiver. so in my legislation, the stand with israel act, we would get rid of the presidential waiver and say if hamas joins a government with a palestinian authority, they should get no american taxpayer money. i said this two weeks ago. the democrats came and said no. president obama doesn't want to give up the authority to continue sending money to these countries. well, a week ago, we had another disaster. in israel, three young teenagers were killed. gilad shaar, eyal yifrach and
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naltali frenkel. the response of hamas was to stand up and cheer. i can give you the direct response of hamas -- their political director said that -- "blessed be the hands that captured them. they stood with glee and cheered when these three teenaged boys were killed in cold blood. these were not soldiers. these were civilians. the news reports are that hamas has joined this unity government precisely because they are bankrupt. they want to get our money. that's why they are joining the unity government. what is ours? ours is a tepid please don't behave that way. but we have no teeth. the same thing in egypt, the same thing in pakistan. country after country, the only thing that is consistent is the money never stops and the behavior never changes.
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some will argue that foreign aid is a way to project american power. well, if it is, we ought to be projecting american values. we should project what america stands for. we shouldn't be saying here's some money, do with it what you will. so this has real teeth. this act is called the stand with israel act and says no money to terrorists, no money to hamas unless they are willing to give up the war and begin to find peaceful means of coexisting. so this evening, i'd like to ask unanimous consent that the committee on foreign relations be discharged from further consideration of senate bill 2265 and that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. i further ask consent that the bill be read a third time and passed, the motion to consider be made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there okay?
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mr. corker: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i want to say so much i appreciate the view that the senator brings and his focus on foreign aid. no doubt, there are issues relative to aid to many countries around the world that we need to be looking at. this is an issue, though, that i really believe the committee itself should deal with first, and while i appreciate his desire to deal with this and bring it directly to the floor on with a behalf of the committee -- or let me put it this way, on behalf of myself and the chairman of the committee, where i'm going to object but i am going to object because i really would like for this issue to be heard in an appropriate way, this issue and many others that the great senator has brought forth on the floor today, and i thank him for his concern. i thank him for the issues that he has brought up, and i hope that the committee itself will deal with this important issue as it should through regular
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order, and for that reason i object to this -- this particular unanimous consent. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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glart quorum call: the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of nosh with senators allowed to speak for ten minutes. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent it be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to a period of morning business, during that morning business the senators be allowed to speak for ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the senate proceed to s. res. 495. the presiding officer: the clerk will report.
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the clerk: s. res. 495 designating july 2014 as summer meals awareness month. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. res. 496. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 496, relative to the death of the honorable alan john dixon, former united states senator for the state of illinois. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that a fellow in senator franken's office by the name of
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karen sachs be granted floor privileges from july 7 to july 31. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, july 8, following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired and the journal of proceedings be approved to date, that the time for the two leaders be reserved for use later in the day, that following leader remarks the senate proceed to a period of morning business for an hour with senators permitted to speak for ten minutes each with the majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the republicans the final 30 minutes. following morning business the senate resume consideration of the motion to proceed to the bipartisan sportsmen bill. that will be postcloture. the senate recess from 12:30 to 2:15 p.m. to allow for our weekly caucus meetings and all time during the adjournment, recess and morning business count postcloture. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask it adjourn under the provisions of s. res. 496 as a further mark of respect
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to the memory of the late senator alan john dixon, former united states senator from the state of illinois. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow and does so as a further mark of respect to the memory of the late senator the memory of the late senator >> the internet content i think we'll agree should remain free of regulation especially by the
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fcc's regulation but susan crawford has said it's like confusing the conversation for the sidewalk. of course you want the conversation to be free and unregulated on line great they have always made sure the communications pathway is failed so today we have a regulated phone system or at least the of the regulated phone system. they do make sure communications pathway is open, affordable available nondiscriminatory in there for everybody to be used. >> it's crucial to think about whether those platforms remain open the way they have historically. the internet has grown up as a network where anyone can communicate, anyone can be on line. a tiny company can get access to the network and become in some cases like google or facebook a huge business. and it's vital that not change as the internet evolves.
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♪ >> good afternoon everybody. this is our final plenary session of the 2014 national forum. i think this has just been a fabulous, fabulous conference. if you all agree please clap. [applause] i personally want to thank you all for attending and you know i shouldn't be such a cynic but i thought we wouldn't have as many folks as we do here for this final session because everyone needs to get home for the holidays but it really shows your commitment and dedication
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to education so i appreciate what you do. so i hope you agree with me that during the conference the speakers have been challenging to your thinking that you have been exposed to new ideas, that you have met people from your state and across the country and really gathered some new ideas. i know i have and i was telling somebody at the table my problem now is there have been so many good ideas that i want to bring them all home and my -- it drives my staff crazy. i tell them let's do this, this and this. in any event i do want to take a minute to thank our corporate partners who have made this form a complete success. we need to thank ge foundation lemine a foundation and usaid funds. please give them a big hand. [applause] and now it's my pleasure to introduce ted michelle vander secretary of education.
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the undersecretary oversees policies programs and activities related to post-secondary education, adult career and technical education, federal student aid, five white house initiatives and the center for faith-based and neighborhood partnerships. i can't believe he has made time for us. that's a lot but please join me in welcoming undersecretary michelle pleads -- please. [applause] >> thank you governor and thanks not only for what sounds like a great conference and i'm so pleased to be here. thank you for the work you are doing at home. you are a champion for high-quality education for all the kids in your state and we are the beneficiaries about so thank you. it is terrific to be here today to talk with you and as i look out literally in the realm there
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are a handful of very dear friends and it's great to be back doing this work with you in d.c.. before i start just a moment of personal privilege to tell those of you i don't know a little bit about why i do this work and what got me into it. i am a teacher speaking of which are any of the state teachers of the year around? [applause] thank you, thank you, thank you. you are what it's all about. the rest of us just exist to try to make your work better and easier so thank you and thank you for what you do. i want to talk about teachers and teacher education a little bit. i'm a teacher at heart and i think for all of us spend time in the classroom why we do what we do often comes back to us years later so i got a letter from a former student of mine a few years ago and it started out the way so many of those letters do which is i'm not sure you you
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remember me but. and you always do, don't you? you always remember and so the students and the images and the stories come back. this was a young woman who had, student of mine when i was teaching education policy courses and she was a great student, went out to be a teacher and then a high school principal in a. [roll call] area of vermont. the occasion for her letter was a tragedy though, a campus tragedy and a young man who died. she wrote to me and she said you know on reflection i don't think that i could've gotten through that experience and understood the dynamics, the complicated dynamics between the school, the community, the press the media without the things we learned in her class. but as a result i have gotten through it, the school has gotten through it and the community has come for it. thank you for what you taught me. so, it's not about me but the
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power of education. that story i think is what we are all here for. it's because we believe in the power of education to transform individual lives and for educators to transform the lives of their schools and their communities and ultimately the nation as a whole. i think that is what brings us together and it's certainly what drives my work. so my message to you is a simple one and i will start and end with it and that is that none of us can do that transformative work alone whether it's a school or state or district or the federal government. we have to find ways to work together to make the education system work. and especially to make it work to change the trajectory for young people who weren't dealt a hand of high cards. the most vulnerable children and youth in our communities.
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in his fifth state of the union address president obama laid out a clear vision that every child in america must have the chance to succeed. he said and i quote opportunity is who we are. the defining project of our generation must be to restore the promise of opportunity. equity and opportunity are at the core of that and our core american values. everyone in this country regardless of income, home language, zip code, gender, sexual identity, race or disability deserves the chance to learn and achieve. and today as never before our collective comfort in our national security rest on the quality that all, not just a few but all that our young people have. and there is no issue more central to the promoting
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stability prosperity and mobility bring the american promise, the rue promise that their education children can succeed, achieve and move into the middle class. i believe strongly that history will judge our generation by our success or our failure to reach and realize that vision a fair chance is through education. right now we have significant work to do because where we live and work, where you live and work the color of your skin, how much money your parents make and how much education they received are all factors that matter too much and that's our shared challenge is to defeat those vectors and the bad news is that it's just getting harder. because not so long ago a high school diploma and the skills and represented were enough to secure a decent wage and a foothold in the middle class but we all know that is changed and
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it has changed forever. those low-skilled well-paid jobs are gone and they are not coming back. in today's knowledge-based global economy jobs will go to the best-educated workers and workforce. just a generation ago this nation was first in the world and college completion rates among young adults and today we have fallen to 12th place. as secretary duncan put it recently quote with you care most about the life possibilities of a young girl in detroit or about the long-term health of our nation's economy the conclusion is the same, we cannot be 12th in the world in college completion and still be the country we want to be. we are not the country we ought to be when 9% of the students, only 9% from low income families can expect to earn earn a bachelor's degree and went 35% of students and one of our best-educated states massachusetts still need remediation before they can
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begin true college work. so now more than ever before post-secondary education weather for year, two year technical or trade training is the ticket to opportunity to the middle class and they are the best investments that any individuals can make in their future and i would argue they are the best investments that any nation can make in its future. that is why president obama has made the goal of regaining our global lead in college completion america's educational northstar and we have made progress. the administration has worked hard to alter the landscape for the better. our reform agenda aims to create a world-class pre-k through 20 education system to the student outcomes to higher standards and better assessments, to recruit and retain more highly effective teachers, especially in high-need schools and to dramatically reduce the dropout
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level at all levels, dropout rate at all levels. the agenda is also focused on making college more accessible and affordable and ramping up quality and post-secondary certificate degree completion rates for all students. and we can celebrate some progress. i think you know this year for the first time the nation's on-time high school graduation rate reached a high of 80% in 2012. that's a great testament to the hard work of our nation's teachers, school leaders teachers and their families. college enrollment and college completion are also on the rise and i think the best news there is those rates are being led by african-american and latino students. so these achievements dried our 2015 priorities and i want to name five for you. core priorities for the next year are first-come increasing
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equity and opportunity for all students, second taking quality preschool available for every 4-year-old in the nation. third, strengthening our supports for teachers and school leaders. four, making schools safer, creating positive learning environments for all children and last improving affordability, equality and success among post-secondary education. achieving these goals is fundamentally important if we want to ensure that every child has the opportunity i mentioned earlier. i like to think of the first priority, the equity and opportunity priority is the umbrella under which all of the others exist. the administration's commitment to equity underlines nearly every significant piece of work that we do and we have acted on the idea of education as an opportunity in program after program after program. race to the top, promise
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neighborhoods, they investing in innovation programs. these all have an equity and opportunity theme that is palpable. this year we are proposing a new competitive fund that focuses laser-like on the nature of equity. it's a race to the top fund focused on equity and opportunity exclusively. that fund will aggressively target opportunity and achievement in the school district in the state level. in the interest of time i would like to focus just on three of these priority areas for the rest of my time with you. early learning, teaching and needing higher education. so let's start with early learning. the foundation of a thriving middle class started in the home. it continues through a quality preschool program and is one of the few places where social science research is relatively unused. the research again and again
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demonstrates that children who have bridged early learning opportunities are better prepared to thriving kindergarten and prospered throughout their educational career. and every public dollar spent on high-quality preschool returns $7 in social investment through a reduced need for expenditures on other services and increase productivity and earnings when these children become adults. early learning is one of the best investments we can make in the future of our country and it's an area of refreshing agreement here in this town. both democrat and republican leaders are moving forward as all of you are in your states and communities to improve access and quality for programs. and the public agrees. the time is now for increased opportunity.
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the variation in polity is extreme. that's why president obama has committed to restoring an investment call preschool for all of which were to build and strengthen the state systems needed to provide all low and moderate income 4-year-olds with high-quality publicly funded preschool. preschool for all its voluntary and builds on the federal state partnership in which the federal government takes the early investment lead and gradually take over the funding. we believe calculations show that this can be funded especially finally preschool for all promotes access to full-day kindergarten and encourages the expansion of high-quality programs to include kids not only in low income but middle class as well. we also have a $250 million
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grant program for preschool development which will help local education agencies and local governments build a fundamental component of that high-quality preschool program and you heard it here first. applications will be available at the end of july for that group. so we will continue to work with all of you with states and communities to ensure that our youngest citizens have access to high-quality early learning that prepares them for success in school and life. let me turn to teachers. the president's plan for 2015 continues and builds upon a significant focus on teaching and learning from the administrations first term. for instance several years ago the administration officially launched the recognizing educational success professional excellence and collaborative teaching or respect project. throughout the year of 2012 the
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department staff and teachers held conversations across the country to develop a shared vision for transforming the teaching profession. as a result of that last year we released the respect blueprint we hope it's a tool for districts and communities that reflects the shared vision statement for transforming the teaching profession. it was cowritten by leaders of national organizations representing teachers district and state superintendent's school boards the department of education and teachers themselves. the obama administration has proposed significant investments going forward that support teachers and leaders that are are doing the hard they work in classrooms and communities. a focus on one technology. you heard from sal kohn yesterday the power of technology to transform the classroom, how is he by the way? is a former board member and need to check in on him. [applause]
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that's good. i will let him know. technology whether it's sal kohn or things you are working on and using in your own classrooms can empower teachers to provide effective instruction and to personalize learning at a level that we have never been able to imagine. but right now fewer than 30% of american schools have the broadband they need to connect to today's technology. under the administration's connect at the initiative 99% of american students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017. [applause] this is particularly important in america's rural communities that are too often afterthoughts in education reform. not anymore. that connectivity will help transform the classroom experience for all students regardless of income. earlier this year the president announced the federal communications commission will
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invest $2 billion over the next two years to dramatically expand high-speed internet connectivity for both america's schools and our libraries. we are also working with the national board for presidential teaching standards on a project we are calling teach to lead. it's an initiative that aims to expand student outcomes by creating opportunities for teacher leadership in their local schools and districts. it is aimed particularly at teachers who want to stay in the classroom but also want to find a broader scope for their work, their leadership and their ideas. too long the idea of leadership has been connected with leaving the classroom and we want to create opportunities for leadership to be expressed through the process. [applause] teaching as you guys know is very hard work and learning to teach is a very complicated
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process. one of our other initiatives is to work to make teacher preparation programs as good as they can be and in particular to meet some of the new challenges teachers are facing whether it's focusing and doubling down on stem subjects and working hard to get girls and students of color into stem programs. we need to better prepare teachers to excel in diverse compartments. we need to help teachers incorporate technology into teaching in classrooms. we need to challenge teacher education institutions to do all of those things and well. this is why we are moving forward with the conference a of plan to strengthen teacher preparation starting this summer with a nationwide conversation together broad-based input for new regulations that fleeing to propose they do this summer. our ultimate aim is to build on
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stage and districts hard work and developing systems that recognize excellence and identify programs on the other hand the improvement. we want to encourage states to incorporate more meaningful outcome measures as they think about the quality of teacher preparation programs. we are thinking of things like placement hi nick schools, retention rates in the profession, satisfaction of program graduates satisfaction of district and school employers and the student learning outcomes. we also want to help states and districts identify and spotlight programs that produce teachers to feel prepared who are prepared and who are creating the kinds of learning environments that create opportunity for students no matter where they come from. finally let me talk a little bit about improving affordability quality and success in post-secondary education so now i'm actually getting to something that i'm responsible
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for. improving college access and completion is no longer a luxury for us as a nation or for individuals. when it comes to job attainment, employment security or national security and national economic development. we know we need to prepare more people to get to and through college successfully. but there are issues. rising costs are pricing the middle class out of college. student debt levels whether individual student debt levels or aggregate student debt levels are rising alarmingly. despite a recent rise the percentage of students who enter college in their first year who graduate has been stagnant. we need to increase that. i know we can achieve president
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obama's goal of making america first in the world again but it's not going to be easy and we are going to have to do all that we can to make higher ed mark sensible and affordable and to focus as we do so on increasing completion rates and the ultimate value of the degree. we have made some good progress. for instance the number of students able to afford college pill grants has grown by 50% to nearly 9 million pill grant students. we have published new tools on our web sites to help students and families make good choices about where to go to college, the college scorecard in the financial aid shopping sheet are two examples. we have secured 100 commitments to college and university leaders to expand college opportunities and access from a wide range from small college to join state universities. we made a commitment at a place
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where we are always held accountable, the white house in front of the president and bringing them back in a couple of months to figure out how well they are making progress. although it's going to add like a small thing it's a big thing. i don't know how many of you described to lee magazine but they have a section called boring but important so file this away in the boring but important category. [applause] i wish i could take credit for it. and because we now can monitor these things yesterday that director financial student aid told me the average time that it takes someone to fill out the fafsa form on line has gone down to 20 minutes and i will say
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again i said it before his 20 minutes too long as far as i'm concerned? that is a major barrier for students applying for financial aid and we are happy to have gotten that in to the 20 minute range. we have to do more. we have to propose significant funding affordability and access over the next several years. justice may we announced a grant competition first in the world competition. 75 million-dollar investment fund that hopes to seed innovations in higher education that either increase access of low income students that lower the cost and the price of education on those campuses by using technology or other means that improve outcomes, higher completion rates or measurably add to the value of the student's degree.
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the application process closed on june 30 and as the computer system was her grain -- regaining its breath after the onset of obligations onset of obligation to tally them up and there were 595 applications under the first in the world program. which i think suggests the higher education community is ready willing and able to bring forward its great ideas around this agenda. we are also proposing $7 billion over 10 years for the college opportunity and graduation which would provide annual grants to institutions based on the number of on-time graduates who are program recipients directly rewarding institutions for doing what we know we all need to do which is increase the graduation rate of low income students. as you may have read through
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executive action the president has taken decisive steps that students and families are able to manage student debt by increasing access to income-based borrowing plans so with the most prominent of these being the page program where instead of a fixed dollar amount students pay a fixed percentage of their income, no more than 10% and this helps students you are having difficulty in this challenging economy but it also helps students who are moving into professions that are tragically and woefully underpaid but very necessary and very welcome in our society. overall the 2015 budget reflects this administration's commitment to the program and will fully fund the maximum award of $5830 per student in 2015.
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we are investing a lot. over $150 billion a year in student aid. with good reason. because every one of those dollars goes to help promote the student success. we have also been investing resources to increase transparency and visibility and using data to better inform student choices family choices and institutional action. we are investing in the creation of a sensible and constructive college rating system that will help inform students and families about outcomes, graduation rates, costs and simultaneously encourages institutions to improve getting easy ways to compare what they are doing with what like mission institutions are doing. finally it reward schools that provide the best value for those most in need through recognition
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and we hope eventually financial rewards and programs like i just mentioned. ultimately our aim is to reward schools that provide the best value for those most in need so those schools can continue expanding the models for others. as secretary duncan has pointed out we are very much aware of how much we will need to benefit from your guidance and wise counsel as we move through each of these programs over the next year. positioning all of our students to succeed and positioning our nation to lead in the 21st century will require our best collective thinking. as the president has said, america has never come easy. our freedom, our democracy has never been easy. the america we want for our kids
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a rising america were honest work is plentiful and communities are strong, where prosperity is widely shared an opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us. none of that is easy but if we work together, if we summon what is best in each of us, i know it's within our reach end quote. with that in mind let me tell you that as i embark on this work i am always going to call on what's best in me to do this work and i hope that you will also let me call on you as we do this work. let me thank you again for bringing such energy to this conference in this meeting for allowing me to talk with you today and for working everyday to ensure a rising america and a bright future for all of us. so let's work together to make
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this year a year of powerful, constructive and breakthrough action in serving the kids who need our service the most. thanks a lot. [applause] the clock tells me we have time for questions or comments if anybody has any. >> kathy sweeney, 2014 teacher of the year. >> congratulations. thank you. >> thank you. i haven't followed it as closely as i should have that mental health first aid in the schools, is that still in the works, the training for the teachers? >> it still in the budget proposal, yes.
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and thanks for reading it so closely. >> joker co colorado. i have so many questions i don't know where to start. let's start with fafsa. i know you said it's been simplified and he said there's a proposal that might take it down to as few as two or three questions or link it to one's tax form. i wonder is there anything else on the horizon that you see that while further simplified to make it possible for markets to get access? >> you are now inviting me to geek out on that issue. i will resist but not entirely. so yes, there are active proposals in the works to either eliminate the form altogether or to reduce it to two or three questions. in either scenario one of the other things and i'm sorry i'm going to geek out for just a minute. there are several problems. the length of the form is just
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one of them. another significant problem than those of you who work in high schools notice well is that the timing of the notification of eligibility is all backwards. we really want students to know how much aid they are going to receive while they are making their choices about which college to apply to. and so you can solve that problem and a lot of the fafsa problems by using irs data and not doing all of the lists but using prior forms. if we can get to the prior tax year use than i think we could get close to solving both of those problems to allow students to know what their eligibility is as they are shopping for colleges and reducing the burden on families with the fafsa completion. >> i meant.
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i want to thank you for your leadership on moving a education system to new models of learning as you did in your past life and i'm curious to know as we have seen the senate about his proposal on authorization and the house is. to do the same, what can we do in the higher education act to make sure that schools of education are preparing teachers to teach in new learning environments? there seems to be a big disconnect between what they are prepared for the new realities of the classroom. >> how many deans of education are in the room? i can almost get away with it. [laughter] so i think yes. and thanks for your question.
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i do think that we have lots to do in teacher education and i think that one of the things we ought to be looking at is a competitive grant program and it's not in the president's budget proposal. it would be interesting to see if it could be maneuvered and in a different way but i think we need to do for teacher ed, for teachers colleges programs what we have done for colleges in the first in the world which is to say here are some objectives we have. we are not going to foist their answers to the question on new schools education but we want you to wrestle with this problem. so how can we train teachers to be avid consumers of and perhaps even producers of technology in our classrooms? i think that would be one of the priorities that i would put into
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the program such as that. second i think we need to make it more possible for states to be able to license nontraditional education program providers to be able to give teacher education and institutions a bit of a race for their money but more importantly to create new models that they might be incorporated into more traditional programs and create an innovation sector in teacher ed that is perhaps a little less regulated than the current system. and then third and this is what we are working on in the department this summer. i think we and states need to set up criteria for evaluating teacher ed programs that create metrics on some of the very things we know we want teachers to be able to know when to be able to do. we need to ask them if they have learned that.
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we need to find evidence of them incorporating some perhaps new practices in the classroom and we need to see those are having an effect and feed that information back to the schools of ed so they can improve. >> my name is brett and i am the oregon state teacher of the year. i'm a special education teacher in my state to win this award so this is probably a question for michael yuko but he's not here so you will get it. he's the undersecretary with special education for those who don't know. we have at a recent change in federal financial aid that graduates have a modified diploma can now be eligible for federal financial aid which was not possible before. we have a lot of students that were unable to even access trade programs because they couldn't get financial aid. in the department of education are there any plans to make some supports for schools and
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teachers to be funneling students, say a young man who has dyslexia and had to have a modified diploma but wants to be a car mechanic and go to trade school? are there plans on your end to be making supports for us to get those kids into programs that are going to get them employment? >> a great question and i had lunch with michael two days ago. we are looking at ways of providing technical assistance in that domain but also its technical assistance not specifically their but as you know we have also made in addition to the financial aid change we have also made a major commitment to now begin to look at student outcomes quite seriously on the state-by-state and district by district basis. we are thrilled with that and so the technical assistance is really geared around that but as
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a part of it helping special ed teachers at the high school level think about this next step because it hasn't been a natural connection. as we think about outcomes that is one of the outcomes we hope to provide assistance with. last question. >> good afternoon. my name is peter renwick and i have a question. i appreciate your presentation today. as far as i can tell i am the only minister to that is here. i'm a high school principal and you have talked a lot about teaching professional development and i think the teachers in the room would agree that that's very important as an administrator and something i feel extremely important that i've gotten from just being here. are there any plans in the works to systemically increased the ability ford ministers and teachers to get professional development? is always something left to struggle with. it's not something that's easily put into our calendars. it might be a local issue but i
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think it's a national one as well. >> it's a great question and if this were an easy problem we have assaulted a long time ago. the department is very interested in looking at the way title ii funds are being allocated and creating flexibility for districts and states to be able to think creatively and use professional development dollars in new ways. one of the challenges that we all have an professional development is assessing the efficacy of professional development programs so we like to i think link those things with new experiments using title ii dollars with ways of trying to assess the efficacy and learning from those examples. thank you all so much. it's just such a privilege to be with you today. thanks. [applause]
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>> internet content should remain free from regulated especially by if not totally from the fcc's regulation. susan crawford has said it's like refusing the conversation for the sidewalk. of course we want the internet to be free and unregulated. they have always made certain that communications pathway stay open so today with a regulated funds as tomorrow is we have the vestiges vestiges of a related phone system. the fcc doesn't regulate what i say to what i call you but they make sure the pathways open affordable available nondiscriminatory and there for everybody to use. >> it's crucial to think about whether those platforms remain open the way they have historically. the internet has grown up as a network where anyone can communicate. anyone can get on line. a tiny company can get access to the network and become in some cases like google or facebook a huge business and it's vital
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that not change as the internet evolves. >> next up joining our conversation is jason burke. he covers immigration and affairs for the san antonio
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express news. thanks for joining us this morning. >> thanks for having me. >> you have a good viewpoint reporting one of the areas of the country that the story is playing out. give us some insight on what you are seeing. >> while i spent the last two weeks in the rio grande valley where this is happening and what is happening is a segment of border fence like a thousand people a day coming acrossright they are not even trying to cross the fence just the first law enforcement official they see. there's a lot of border patrol down there on the river and there's a lot of other local law enforcement state law enforcement moving into the area and then the border patrol is dropping large numbers of people at the bus station in border cities in brownsville and mcallen and del real. so the cities are scrambling to figure out what to do with all these people.
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they don't have a lot of money. they have been in border patrol custody briefly but they are oftentimes dehydrated and exhausted in women traveling with families. >> is it even an area for the last two weeks. has anything changed you between when present, maybe promise of making executive power and now? >> the last time i was on the levees was 30 -- thursday afternoon. the last time i was up on the levees was thursday afternoon and there was not a notables of difference in border patrol presence down there that i could see. in the last few weeks the texas department of public safety has pushed a large number of state troopers into the area to deal with what they say his drug traffickers moving to other parts of the rio grande and to take advantage of -- where the
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children and families are crossing to try to move their wares elsewhere. there's a large number of state troopers on the highways but secretary jake johnson was in the valley last week and he said they were going to move safety border patrol, new border patrol agents to the region and that's on top of the 100 that they have argument in. the rio grande sector has about 3000 border patrol agents in it so these are not really large numbers compare compared to the total number of agencies. >> when you are talking to people in these areas near the border what are you hearing from them? are they excited for perhaps more action on immigration coming from the federal government? what do they think? >> you know everybody is sort of smug to the next crisis or the next proposal.
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i talked to one guy on the border and in the last few years he has seen the federal government take his land to the border fence. he hears shootouts across the river. there used to be a lot of people coming through his property and now because all the kids and families turning themselves in on the other side of the fence you don't really see that kind of action anymore. he just goes by whatever the next plan is and i think it's sort of a pretty common response. a lot of these officials were excited about the prospects of immigration reform but you know these are also people who are dealing with this sudden influx of, not a population because almost everyone is moving on but this sudden influx of people into their community. so they are right now more focused on what can be done to stem the tide of people. >> jason buch have you seen any
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hostility change towards those coming over the border in the last couple of months or have things been always like they were? >> i'm sorry can you repeat that? >> i'm curious if there has been a any increased hostility towards those coming over the border in the last few months? >> i didn't witness anything like what we are hearing about in california. people in the towns have really come out to try to help these people and again these are people who are going to be there for a few hours or a couple of days. so there seems to be pretty much an understanding of that. i don't know for would be different if this large number of people was staying there but the church nears the bus station has opened up as a shelter in the city has provided temporary showers and cots to the shelters. there's a large number of people volunteering to help, so in that
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reach you haven't seen what you saw out in california. >> jason buch covers immigration and border affairs for the san antonio express news. thanks for sharing with us this morning. >> thanks a lot.
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